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tv   Headline News  RT  January 18, 2014 5:00pm-5:30pm EST

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syria's opposition coalition says yes to attending next week's peace talks in switzerland but can't confirm which delegates will be there is to made further doubt over a chemical attack near damascus last year. these rockets could have never been fired from government controlled territory experts from m.i.t. call into question u.s. claims that assad forces were behind an assault. officials from moscow visited one time obey detention center to meet with a russian man who's been incarcerated there without charge for almost twelve years . and president obama says his much anticipated plans to reform the n.s.a. are a step in the right direction but critics dismiss their proposals as a p.r. stunt that lead to many unanswered questions and much of the agency's operations untouched.
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two am in moscow i am at present very good to have you with us our top story this hour after weeks of dispute and indecision the opposition syrian national coalition is finally decided to attend next week's peace negotiations in geneva but it's still unclear exactly which members of the fractured group will take part in talks aimed at ending syria's bloody civil war archies marine important i reports from new york. amid mounting international pressure syria's opposition has decided to take part in next week's geneva two peace talks the group which faces its own internal divisions announced its decision saturday following a meeting in is stamboul now hearts of the syrian opposition were previously critical of taking part in peace negotiations that could help syrian president bashar al assad they say stay in power the syrian national council
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a main power opposition bloc even threatened to pull out of the coalition if the general assembly voted in favor of attending the geneva two it seems though however that. pressure from the u.s. and western countries cause concessions to be made the conference will be held under the auspices of the un and it's co-sponsored by russia and the u.s. it's scheduled to begin on tuesday january twenty second it is aimed at finding a way to install a transitional government that will subsequently pave the way for to ending the nearly three year old civil war which has reportedly claimed the lives of some one hundred thirty thousand people. and with one opposition group now ready to join the talks it's still not clear if any of the others will follow suit a recent british defense study has found the newly hof of those fighting against the assad government are either jihad ists or hardline islamist let's take a look at what it says is more than one hundred thousand rebel fighters in the
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country who are split into many different factions these including al qaeda linked groups with about ten thousand jihad this is more than thirty thousand hard lined radicals but they're focused on the war in syria rather than a global struggle for islam is domination and just over a third of the opposition could be considered more moderate islam is middle east expert sharmeen are one who says that even if the talks are successful though the problem of how to deal with the jihadi fighters remains. but there's many different factions of the opposition and you have the domestic peaceful opposition the n.c.c. that i think is the most likely to be able to strike any kind of deal with the syrian government they have rejected these talks because of the kinds other kinds of oppositions that that might participate and then you have this externally backed opposition. syrian national coalition these are the ones who have accepted the talks or at least some of this body has access to talk that they're not in any
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position to negotiate a solution on behalf of the syrian people there are some dangers in these talks and even if you had a legitimate opposition sitting across the syrian government and negotiating it doesn't account for the many militias on the ground who are not controlled by any foreign government or any domestic constituency we're going to have to put a stop to those kind of military activities or u.s. conclusion that a chemical attack near damascus in august was carried out by the government has been challenged by a team of respected experts washington blame president assad for the attack but a new report from the massachusetts inches institute of technology found the rocket could be fired from government controlled areas. we went through two to three months worth of study to determine the types of rockets. the weight the size of the propellant and we determine that the range is on the order of two kilometers
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i like to make a note that the u.n. also had come up with a range of approximately two kilometers so this is very confusing to us in our studies and we're trying to understand exactly what the white house met means because right now as it stands these rockets could have never been fired from government controlled territory they would be fired more from a rebel type of territory or a border of a contested territory so it seems something in the official u.s. conclusions doesn't add up he took a closer look at the mit study. this latest report is trying to answer one question whether the missiles carrying a serin gasol in august twenty thirteen were really fired from the parts of damascus controlled by the syrian government now we reproduced exactly the same map which the u.s. intelligence used when they voiced their concerns that the attack was carried out by the syrian government and this is the part of damascus controlled by the syrian
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government at that time in august twenty thirty in this is the part controlled by the opposition those blinking yellow spots they marked the places where the attack happened in particular this western most point of those attacks where the biggest number of casualties happened and this red line here it shows where the missiles could could have gone if they were fired from the from the governmental territories in damascus the maximum range of those missiles is two kilometers now of this eastern the most point of the of the attack is about four kilometers from the eastern most point of the governmental control and the territories controlled by the government and if we talk about the heart of the of the territory controlled by the government that's something which was specified by u.s. states john kerry that's where the rockets were fired from this is about nine kilometers from the this point here this report basically does not lay blame on any side and does not say whether there were those where the rebels who perform these
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attacks are using chemicals but what it does though it seriously puts under doubt that the quality of intelligence and as to why the u.s. authorities used what seems to be incomplete or even flawed intelligence data to voice their concerns and if we remember what u.s. state secretary john kerry said back then the claims were quite solid high confidence this is common sense this is evidence these are facts also this report speculates at one point that it could have this wrong data could have been used in a similar fashion as the attack on iraq when wrong information was used as a pretext to launch a military operation official washington hasn't yet responded to this latest report by the mit researchers. as the violence rages in syria the country is turning into a major drug producer with both rebels and army soldiers reportedly taking better means to keep up their energy and stay going during battles or report on that.
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but first after ten years of attempts officials from moscow finally got access to the only russian nationals still held at guantanamo bay a delegation headed by the foreign ministry human rights envoy met with a detainee who was being held at the prison despite never having been charged efforts to secure his release were a priority of the visit along with ensuring that his human rights were being respected consultations were held with the pentagon as well as one ton of officials and the group was also given a limited tour of the facility earlier my colleague kevin owen spoke with the head of russia's delegation constantine dog both. of you met the russian national held in guantanamo what did he have to say about his ordeal it was the first. meeting with him we have been trying to organize their meeting for quite some time for several years he told us that equate to a number of very serious incidents which happened with some other detainees
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people whom he personally knows did he give you any details but he himself witnessed the aftermath of the use of methods which compatible with the international norms and regulations do you feel you could talk freely to you well it's difficult to say this man has been under duress for almost twelve years so it's difficult to expect that suddenly he starts speaking completely freely the most important probably. element of the visit was to convey that message to the american representatives we americans say that we insist. they have his rights. and legitimate interests are adequately taken care of this is. the principle position of the russian government.
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is you know a russian citizen abroad and an official statement after the visit dog but also said one time all falls below basic international standards that's a view that's backed by human rights groups say thirty three detainees are now on hunger strike with that number doubling in the last month now the camps military authorities are refusing to release any new figures into the matter authorities said the release of information on hunger strikers detracts from the more important issues like the welfare of detainees and the safety of troops clive stafford smith is that attorney for several good mode who says he's witnessed some of the tactics used by the military if a prisoner on from camp six which is the least camp goes on hunger strike the automatically get transferred not just count five but count five record which really has been the most abusive place in all of kuantan of the prisoners are held in the old steel cell and denied the most basic human rights just as a punishment for going on strike but for speeding techniques are very much an
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option unfortunately against the very abusive force feeding techniques i mean counseling aside the question of whether it's not the culture correspondent toure when the world medical association says it's not you know unfortunately the techniques they use in one ton of groups your assistant so for example and some of those that they used to leave but use up the prisoners knows it's the and it's so much the still pulling those tubes out every single time tries to force them back up each time there's still before seen far too much food too quickly into the prison amenity prison so if you're sick they just carry on doing it it really is horrendous. still to go leaving a lot via baltic nation watching the thousands of skilled professionals head for the exit to escape the euro zone we look at what's driving them away after this short break.
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of the plane. the olympic spirit travels with the flame from its place in greece. james brown in the mental and epic journey of russia and beyond. where i think. there's a media leave though so we leave the people. of the city who should see through the play your part of the physical. issues that no one is there with to get they
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deserve answers from. politics. for staying with us fourteen minutes past the hour washington it won't dismantle its global spying apparatus yasmine of a major overhaul of the national security agency outlined by president obama fail to provide any detail on when the collection of data will be stopped or whether it will be stopped at all critics say the plan for deep reform is just a face left sam sachs explains. after nearly seven months of n.s.a. disclosures president obama finally came forward with reforms to the spy agency acknowledging that the current capabilities in the n.s.a. do leave open the possibility of abuse given the unique power of the state it is not enough for leaders to say trust us we want to be use the data we collect for
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history has too many examples when that trust has been breached. our such a system of government is built on the premise that our liberty cannot depend on the good intentions of those in power the president addressed the n.s.a.'s most controversial program section two fifteen bulk telephone metadata collection basically the president no longer wants the government to be in control of these massive metadata databases but that doesn't mean the president wants to get rid of bulk collection in fact the bulk collection of virtually every american's metadata will continue indefinitely and the new restrictions announced by the president requiring the n.s.a. to obtain fi's a court approval before searching all that metadata doesn't satisfy privacy advocates who argue the pfizer court has acted and will continue to act as a rubber stamp nothing in obama's speech put any rain rain dan this collected all approach and yesterday that there was a big revelation of a call dish fire program that just fire program was collecting all text calls
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literally hundreds of thousands of text calls every day are going into the n.s.a.'s vacuum it's gigantic hoover regarding spying on foreign leaders the president said he's put an end to surveillance on friends and allies but it not said the n.s.a. will stop spying on diplomats nothing about the n.s.a. breaking encryption standards and ports that the n.s.a. has been breaking into the data links on google and yahoo servers while some specific reforms were introduced how exactly they will be implemented moving forward remains to be seen especially since the same government agencies that have overseen the massive growth of the surveillance state are now the ones tasked with reigning into it washington d.c. same sex party. obama's speech on the n.s.a. was met with criticism in some of the countries spied upon germany's justice minister said a written agreement is necessary to stop it he was supported by a brazilian lawmaker who thinks the u.s.
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is little respect for international partners when european m.p. things washington is paying lip service to make everybody feel better earlier activist and blogger david swanson told us why he is among those left unsatisfied by president obama's address it wouldn't call it a reform i would call it the ongoing normalization of the outrageous policy of violating the fourth amendment on an enormous scale we're learning more as every week goes by about what they're collecting in terms of text messages and e-mails and admitted data and it's it's voluminous and the president is is not can it meaning that anything has been done wrong is not proposing to stop doing it is not suggesting we restore the fourth amendment to the constitution he's suggesting that this will continue and it will be reformed perhaps in part someday but he claims it's been a great step forward i don't see it. think twice next time you decide to like
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somebody on facebook especially when someone is your former partner once nothing to do with you is one click get you arrested find out more on this story online plus. still thinking about buying a ticket for the sochi winter games why head over to r t dot com is in motion a section for a bird's eye view of the city to help you make up your mind. i think you. should have you with us here today i'm sure.
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fighters on both sides of the syrian civil war turning to drugs both as a source of funding and staying power in battle on cording to a recent media investigation the soaring export of illegal amphetamines has turned syria into a major drug artie's murray if an ocean reports. with syria about to enter in its fourth devastating year of war the lack of law and structure has allowed one dark industry to flourish the country has become the number one producer of a drug known as caps and gone since synthetic stimulants were first manufactured in the one nine hundred sixty s. and it was at that time used as a medicine to treat hyperactivity and depression but it's too addictive and this is why it was banned in most countries so here in the middle east it's still very popular it's cheap and it's easier to get but today syria not only produces more than any other country in the region but it's also kept a close main consumers believe that five terrorists are taking these pills to
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maintain vigorous energy levels your elevenses battles because it helps you keep awaken for hours and hours but there are also reports that ordinary citizens those who've been living in depression and in this war and chaos for almost three years now are also holding to the drugs for these capers two four year aid gives them and it's lucrative it's between fifteen and twenty doors appeal and the right hundreds of millions of them taking all trafficked and there is evidence that the revenue raised is buying weapons from both sides of the syrian conflict the un office on drugs and crime. has been reporting that syria which is located at the crossroads here in the region has for a long time been a transit point for the drug going from europe to turkey and lebanon but since the war began captagon trades ganza mastic and factories are appearing these
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days all across syria and production has increased and sales and booming here elaborate on the authorities seized around two hundred million dollars worth of tabla. lost here mostly hidden in the tracks going through the syrian lebanese would've thrown away than at any time when its final destination included the gulf countries some of the most ardent supporters of the syrian opposition and saudi arabia where around a billion dollars worth of the drug was seized just last week authorities say this is nothing but just ten percent of the real turnover of the drug and became dim. russia's national counterterror committee says seven militants were killed in the southern republic of dagestan security forces are trying to negotiate with the group who are holed up in a house opened fire it's believed that among those dead were responsible for friday's grenade attack on a restaurant that was followed by
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a car bomb that injured at least sixteen people another was a leader of a local gang and a third was a friend of a female suicide bomber who carried out the terror attack on the bus in volgograd last october the woman was also said to be preparing for a suicide bombing and was wanted by russian forces. i mean now this mother stories making headlines across the globe riot police fired water cannons and scuffle with protesters in istanbul demonstrators flooded the streets to express disc discontent at a new draft bill that would restrict internet access the government wants to keep records of online activity and banned sites for alleged violations of privacy without the u.s. need for a court order if passed internet service providers will be required to join in an internet union under central control. bloodshed in iraq leaves at least thirty dead in militant violence seventeen died more than seventy were injured in multiple bombings that rocked baghdad west of the city a gel was seized by gunmen leading to the escape of dozens of prisoners this after
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six were killed in a suicide blast and shelling in the restive unbar province outside the capital. in ukraine's capital kiev clashes erupted between pro and anti-government activists violence broke out when government supporters tried to push back protesters were blocking one of the city's main streets this just days after president signed into law a bill banning similar rallies demonstrations have gripped the capital for nearly two months after the rejection of a trade agreement with the e.u. . live you may be europe's fastest growing economy but it's also the e.u.'s youngest and poorest member and if there are quote sharp bends on the road to prosperity have proven too much for thousands of professionals who are leaving the country artie's paul scott met one who says the government negligence is to blame the surrogate is one of thousands of workers who will leave latvia this year but his destination is perhaps surprising to be leaving this state to work in
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azerbaijan and this is the. life is always hard but in this country it's harder as the government is much more concerned by politics not economics and the life of the common man so that he isn't the only one the world bank says not because population is shrinking by almost sixty thousand people per year i feel i'm not alone the governments are squeezing everybody wants and more and more from us for less money between two thousand and nine and two thousand and twelve not because population fell by around ten percent in a country of only two million people this decline is sharply felt especially since those leaving a mostly of working age each. the major work force males from twenty to forty go and find jobs abroad and then move their families over this leave just older people this demographic shift poses significant economic challenges which the government says it's keen to try and tackle yes there is a government program to return people to latvia but it doesn't work they pay for
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people to return but there's still no work for them the only way out is to create new jobs and a suitable atmosphere for investment but it isn't happening and over the next twenty years the population will decrease another third. so as leaders desperately trying to arrest the worrying trend the message from at least one of those with banks part for a better life elsewhere is simple. the government has to stop its aggressive social policies and lower taxes so that people can live and not simply survive. ot not via. the international highlights of the olympic torch or new to sochi and for those watching us in the u.k. sputnik there with us. because you don't states is the big dog the only hyper power and the cultural
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driving force of globalization it takes a lot of flak i mean globalization means the whole world gets hollywood and hot dogs and not the other way around so let's take a break from the negativity and talk about something truly amazing about america and as a guy who lives in moscow i could say that the constitution of the united states is something truly amazing in russia there is constant talk about needing a new national idea a new ideology or political theory or big changes to the russian constitution and so on and it's hard for people in america understand this but twice in the twentieth century the system that russians gave their lives for collapsed and the current constitution was written quickly after a period of violence and said collapse not after a glorious victory now you see why people here are exactly memorizing amendments and founding fathers quotes here in america there are debates between liberals and conservatives but almost everyone believes the constitution and it is america's greatest strength there is a national idea that is a sacred document with a list of rules as almost universally agreed upon everyone with half a brain on the street but sadly not in congress knows when something is against the
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constitution or should i see against america near universal belief in the constitution is actually something truly exceptional about america but that's just my opinion. it was supposed to be just another news or of course although admittedly for a special occasion it was one hundred twenty three days before the start of the winter olympic games in sochi and i was in greece for the lighting of the olympic flame the ruins of a limpia one of the most famous monuments of ancient greece the site of the very first olympic games where stones like this would have been part of the temple. the temple. temple owes.
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me. from.
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well that was a rather surreal. definitely the way to stream i've had for a while. it was a memorable ceremony. it was one pretty sure the high priestess never spoke to me. what was it she said. full of the flame or something. perhaps a lot more of course base. from which the top story this morning than the sochi twenty pulteney olympic flame is a bright in moscow seven days after it was first late in the ancient greek city of libya carried by russia's deputy prime minister dimitri cause like the flame travelled in a small mountain to red square where president vladimir putin spoke of its meaning for the russian people i mean the olympic chill the symbol of the world's primary sports competition of peace and of friendship. but he has come to russia.
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there are many marks the start of the longest tools relay in a limb take a story the flame good scrape this so many people have turned out to the start of the russian relay it looks like a lot of fun out there. in a minute. couldn't be. but it was the stone i picked up in and it was on my mantle piece and if that isn't a sign i don't know what it is. i knew i had to get down to red square and experienced atmosphere for myself fortunately they were having a two day event. so from sunny greece to rather soggy moscow just at the very start of the torch is journey around the whole of russia i'm excited.
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